Sick Hens, Brown Shavers

by Johnkey951@gmail.com
(New Zealand)

Question

Sick Hens, Brown Shavers: I have 2 one year old Brown Shavers that are sick. 1st chicken:
Not moving and if it does move its only walking around slowly.

It has the runs too (runny poo's)... tail was sticking up high before (like for 1 week it was up high) but now gone down again for last few days.

She is sleeping closer to the ground now and by herself but used to sleep with the others. She has been sick for 2 or 3 weeks.

2nd chicken:
Just became sick tonight. It’s a pale brown shaver as well, always been light and funny since I got it.

Tonight I saw it sleeping in the nesting box but usually it sleeps with the others. I feed Layer mash and wheat, no medications to 16 chickens. Have not introduced any new chickens.

They free range. It has just started to get colder in the mornings getting close to a frost.

Answer
Sick chickens should be removed from the flock to prevent spreading illness. You may need to give medication, if they can be saved.

If by “light” you mean under weight, she may have internal and or external parasites or a bacterial infection robbing her body of nutrients.

Diarrhea is an indication of improper balance of bacteria in her digestive system, possibly a disease that can be spread through her droppings.

Sick chickens may be running a fever and sleeping in a nest or on the ground helps them stay warmer than on a roost.

Possibly they are too weak to jump up to the roost or the hen in the nest is broody and wants to set on eggs.

It would be best to get them checked by a veterinarian to find out how to treat this and prevent any spread to the rest of your flock.

After removing any sick chickens it’s important to thoroughly clean and disinfect the coop, removing all floor litter and nesting material, spraying roosts, nest boxes, floor and walls with diluted bleach, allowing it to dry (as much as possible) and bleach fumes to dissipate before spreading new litter and allowing chickens back in.

I wouldn’t be able to know what disease this might be, or if it actually is contagious, but good flock management would tell us to assume it could spread, and to take precautions.

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